sat 17/04/2021

Working From Home online review - Johnny Vegas and Jason Byrne in a strong line-up | reviews, news & interviews

Working From Home online review - Johnny Vegas and Jason Byrne in a strong line-up

Working From Home online review - Johnny Vegas and Jason Byrne in a strong line-up

Livestreamed variety evening is terrific fun

Jason Byrne headlined the show from his bathroom

Comedy promoters Just the Tonic have been keeping occupied during various lockdowns, and are continuing with livestreamed shows until comics can perform live in clubs and theatres again.

Comedy promoters Just the Tonic have been keeping occupied during various lockdowns, and are continuing with livestreamed shows until comics can perform live in clubs and theatres again. This show was presented as part of JTT's fortnightly variety show Working From Home – which does what it says on the tin, comics doing their bit from the comfort of their homes livestreamed into ours. 

As ever, it was a cracking Saturday-night line-up with JTT's owner, Darrell Martin, compere for the evening. Matt Forde kicked off proceedings, appearing as Boris Johnson, complete with a blond fright wig that made him look like he had been “face-fucked by the Dulux dog”.

“Johnson” outlined the UK's roadmap towards the end of the pandemic when, in a massive show of projection, he reckoned our restored way of life will be: “A free for all, basically a massive gang-bang.” As ever, Forde was on top form.

Laura Lexx then introduced the Show Within a Show segment, and she was a terrific host as she introduced three acts – Cally Beaton, Chris Turner and Hal Cruttenden – who gave good value in their short sets. Beaton played the knowing vamp, Cruttenden expertly sent up his self-obsession, while Turner performed an astonishingly good rap made up on the spot from suggestions from the audience that included Dan Biggar, Basil Brush and the Papa John's Pizza Trophy.

Lexx, meanwhile, got great material out of guying the “front row” audience – punters who had paid a couple of pounds extra to watch via Zoom and interact with the comics – sailing close to the wind a few times with her assessment of their home décor or their dress/drink code for the evening. But, good sports all, they lapped it up.

Johnny Vegas, who doesn't like livestreamed comedy but gamely made an effort, massively overran with his “experimental quiz show”, which was as rambunctious, confusing and disorganised as you might expect. Despite Martin's attempts to keep Vegas on track (and ask some questions as well as supplying the answers), the interactive quiz was a mess. A funny one, though.

Jason Byrne was the headliner and brought some order to proceedings as well as the evening's biggest laughs. He had his own quiz and had put some (lateral) thought and effort into fashioning the clues for the audience, using just the materials he found in the bathroom of his home, in which he was performing. He chatted, as is his wont, all the while, musing about Ireland's lack of vaccines and memories of his dad, who died last year. Catching himself, he said: “Is this a counselling gig?”

It certainly brought some balm with much needed laughs to those watching, despite the occasional technical glitch over the sprawling three-hour show.

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